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Jacksonville at Oakland: 10 Keys to the Game for the Oakland Raiders

Ray Garcia@tpsrayContributor IIIOctober 19, 2012

Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer
Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson PalmerEzra Shaw/Getty Images

The Raiders are in a must-win situation this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Oakland. To keep their playoff hopes alive, here are 10 keys to the game:

Rushing offense

The Jaguars' rushing defense gives up 163 rushing yards a game. This is a prime time for Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp to lean heavy on running backs Darren McFadden, Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones. If this zone-blocking offense works, it should work against this defense.

Control the clock

 See key No. 1. When not handing the ball off, Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer needs to use the middle of the field. Tight end Brandon Myers has to continue from last week and win the battle in the middle. Conservative pass plays and an aggressive run offense will be a major key. Doing this, you’ll get a few chances down the field to…

Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore

Raiders wide receiver had a big game last week versus the Atlanta Falcons, catching five passes for 104 yards. Oakland will have similar opportunities by utilizing a run-heavy play action against the Jaguars' defense.

Rushing defense versus Maurice Jones-Drew

Maurice Jones-Drew has rushed for 100 yards only once so far this season. The Oakland Raiders' defense gives up 111.8 yards per game on average. Stuffing the middle of the field will be huge, as Jones-Drew is Jacksonville’s only true threat on offense.

Pressure on QB Blaine Gabbert

Now is the time for Matt Shaugnessy, Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly and Lamarr Houston to pin their ears back and get after second-year Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert. He’s currently leading the last-place passing offense in the NFL for a reason.

Raiders pass defense

Miles Burris, Rolando McClain and Philip Wheeler will need to shut down Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis, who is tied with the team lead of receptions with 14 catches (16 targets) for 116 yards and two touchdowns. That in turn with another strong performance by Raiders safety-turned-cornerback Michael Huff will help keep the Jaguars' offense one dimensional.

Jaguars offense last in the NFL with 142.8 yards of passing offense

The Jaguars' offense is just bad, ranked 32nd in the NFL. Last in pass (as stated above) and 22nd in the run, this is a hobbling and inefficient offense. Ripe for Oakland’s defense.

Penalties

The Oakland Raiders reverted to form last week with 12 penalties for 110 yards. The Raiders need to prove that the decrease in penalties in the weeks before was not because of the replacement referees, but because of newfound discipline.

Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp

Coach Knapp needs to put together an efficient, clock-controlling offense that does not put the ball at risk and controls the clock. Learn from last week’s loss and continue to attack to middle of the field and between the tackles.

Oakland Raiders' Prevent Defense

DON’T USE IT! If history has taught us anything, it’s that, for the Raiders, the prevent defense only prevents them from winning. Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver and head coach Dennis Allen need to stay aggressive on defense.

Aggressive, aggressive, aggressive! Press the corners, load the box and get after the quarterback. Act like you are the big bully on the field and push your opponents around.

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